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Summary:

Now that Samsung offers the Galaxy Tab 7.7, my patience to upgrade the old Galaxy Tab has paid off: This small slate with high-def display offers big performance. Here are benchmarks compared to other tablets like the Transformer Prime; both are solid performers in real life.

galaxy-tab-7-7-viewing-angle

As the owner of an original Galaxy Tab 7, many readers were surprised I didn’t buy a Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus when it arrived on the scene. Frankly, I didn’t think there was enough “plus” in the refresh to be worth the upgrade cost. So I waited. Now that Samsung offers the Galaxy Tab 7.7, my patience has paid off: This small slate and its high-def display offers big performance. Let’s see how much, compared to the quad-core Transformer Prime and some other Android devices.

The new Galaxy Tab 7.7

This isn’t a full review of the device, as I’ve only had it through the weekend. And you won’t find the Galaxy Tab 7.7 readily available, either. Verizon will be launching an LTE version in the near future — I caught it on video at CES — but for now, the device can only be imported. I paid a premium to do just that and bought the 16 GB Wi-Fi model last week. I don’t regret the $575 purchase price.

To offer an idea of how well the Galaxy Tab 7.7 works, I benchmarked it with some other recent Android tablets and my Galaxy Nexus smartphone. These all run either Android 3 or 4 on screens with similar resolutions, yet they all have different processors, so this gives an idea at how these chips perform.

I also included results from my old Galaxy Tab 7 as a frame of reference, as well as the iPad 2 for the browsing test. Again, this isn’t meant to be and “end all, be all” of chip benchmarking; it’s simply a look to see if the benchmark data matches my own perception of the new Galaxy Tab 7.7’s performance in real-world use.

First, some quick test notes on which chips are in each device:

  • Galaxy Tab 7 (Android 2.3): 1 GHz single-core Samsung Exynos 3110, Cortex-A8; PowerVR SGX 540 GPU.
  • Galaxy Tab 7.7 (Android 3.2): 1.4 GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos 4210, Cortex-A9; Mali MP-400 GPU.
  • Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Android 3.1): 1.2 GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2, Cortex-A9; GeForce 333 MHz GPU.
  • Galaxy Nexus (Android 4.0.2): 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460, Cortex-A9; PowerVR SGX540
  • Transformer Prime (Android 4.0.3): 1.3 GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3, Cortex-A9; 12-core GeForce
  • Apple iPad 2: 1 GHz dual-core Apple A5, Cortex-A9; PowerVR SGX543 GPU

One final note: the Asus Transformer Prime has both a balanced mode and a performance mode. I tested each, and performance mode yielded better results in all three tests, as expected. Here’s what I found in my three tests.

Browsing

The SunSpider test is a good indicator of browsing performance, although it only tests JavaScript. Still, it verifies my thought that the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is a browsing speed demon, comparable to, if not better than, the iPad 2. Benchmarks aside, I’ve hit the same websites simultaneously on these devices and overall, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 offers the fastest surfing experience at the moment.

Computing power

Linpack tests the MFLOPS, for floating point operations per second. Higher scores are better here. In performance mode, the Transformer Prime wins the race, while in balance mode, it’s a close call between the quad-core Prime and the dual-core Galaxy Tab 7.7.

Overall performance

Quadrant is a benchmark suite that tests memory, input/output, 2-D and 3-D graphics capabilities. It’s a good indicator of overall performance for an Android device. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 blows the competition away in this particular test, and I can attest to the general range of results here. The small slate seems the fastest overall device to me, followed by the Prime, then my smartphone.

Given that these devices have dual- and quad-core chips, I also ran similar performance tests using Smartbench and CF-Bench because not all benchmark tools are equipped to handle multi-core processors. In these tests, where higher numbers are better, the Transformer Prime starts pulling away a little more.

In real life use, however, I’m not seeing a drastic performance difference between the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Transformer Prime; likely because few apps are equipped to take advantage of four processing cores. There could also be variances because the Prime runs Ice Cream Sandwich while the Tab is still on Honeycomb.

Conclusion

Again, this isn’t a conclusive look, but more of an early performance indicator for each device. As mentioned previously, it’s possible some of the tests run better on the Honeycomb version of Android as opposed to the new Ice Cream Sandwich release, so results could change with future updates.

If nothing else, these tests confirmed my experience with the Galaxy Tab 7.7 over the past few days. I’ve shared thoughts of the device with my social networks, but it’s hard for folks to quantify comments such as: “It’s blazing fast!” or “This is the best small slate I’ve used yet.”

Without a doubt, both the Transformer Prime and Galaxy Tab 7.7 perform well. The Tab appears better for general tasks right now, while the Prime is exceptional when it comes to gaming. If you haven’t seen why, check the tail end of this video showing PC-like gaming with an Xbox controller on the slate. And stay tuned for a video overview of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 coming soon!

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  1. Andreas Ødegård Tuesday, January 31, 2012

    Xbox controller functionality isn’t a selling point as pretty much all tablets can do that. I’ve had Wii remotes (with attached gamecube-like classic controller), xbox controller and PS3 sixaxis controller hooked up to my Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, which is the other new Samsung tablet running the same Exynos chip as the 7.7 but with 1.2GHz core speeds. What’s more, the sixaxis controller app which allows wireless sixaxis controller functionality can emulate touch input, which means it works with pretty much any game that has gamepad-like touch controls. Requires root, but unlike Asus samsung hasnæt locked the 7.7 and 7.0 Plus so rooting is done with a root.zip file and 10 seconds in recovery mode.

  2. Where did you get the unlocked version?

    1. Leo, I bought the Wi-Fi version from Negri Electronics. They also sell the 3G unlocked version for about $80 more than I paid.

  3. Why didn’t you include benchmark scores versus the most logical similar product-the 7.0 Plus? Instead of the obsolete original Tab 7.0 and a bunch of 10-inchers not in the same class? Is it because, as I suspect, that the benchmark scoring would be quite similar to the now readily available Plus?

    1. No ulterior motive here Waveho; I simply don’t have the Plus. ;) I suspect others have benchmarked it, so these scores could be easily compared to those results. The 7.0 Plus may indeed show similar numbers; it uses the same Samsung CPU as the 7.7, but clocked down from 1.4GHz to 1.2GHz. I’m not sure if the Plus uses a different GPU, but if so, that would be another factor, of course.

  4. Kevin, what widget is the weather / clock widget at the beginning of your video on the home screen of the prime?

  5. Let me know when I can get a Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab 7.7 running the latest version of Android for under $400! Any more than that, and you’re into iPad territory. Even though the 7.7’s hardware is beautiful, Android’s software still isn’t there yet.

    1. If you are obsessed by the price go to take a Kindle or a Nook.

      This tablet has better internals than everything out there, including the ipad2. It has the price it deserves to be a tech masterpiece. If you think an Android tablet needs to be cheaper than an iPad even when it has better hardware (and from my point of view better software too, but less available optimized apps), than you should just buy an iPad since it’s clear you prefer it.

  6. Someone got a big fat bonus this time of year … Nexus full price, Tab 7.7 full price and a transformer prime … hmmm. Good for you Sir! Must make your geek self very happy ;)

    I might just follow your advice and buy the Note instead of the Nexus+Tab7.7.

    Question Kevin please:
    When you are in doors, and watch a movie, will you ever pick the tab 7.7 over your other devices? Also – on its own is it a good / big enough to enjoy movies?

  7. Can you tell me if the version you got from Negri electronics supports voice capability?

    1. Thomas, I bought the Wi-Fi model, so there’s no cellular radio for voice. However, I am using it for VoIP calls. The 3G model does support cellular voice and 3G data on AT&T’s network.

  8. I’m assuming there’s no Infrared on this tablet. I was hoping it came with the same IR Blaster as the 7.0 plus so I could control my TV through the tablet.

    1. Sadly no: there’s no IR port on my Galaxy Tab 7.7. Would have been nice to have!

  9. lol these scores are bogus i got a 1523s on sunspider on my TPrime

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